Matt Duss has an interesting thought about the Bush visit to Iraq over at Wonk Room. I’m not sure the implication is entirely accurate: going forward, the relationship between Iraq’s security forces and the U.S. military–locked in by spare parts, logistics and training regimes–could be every bit as significant as Iraq’s fraternal Shi’ite ties with Iran. The neoconservatives who see Iraq as a bastion of freedom are, I think, deep in fantasyland…but that doesn’t necessarily mean Iraq will go over completely to the dark side, either. The tug of war between U.S. and Iranian operatives in Mesopotamia should be fascinating.
But the flying size-10s did put the notion that this was some sort of “victory lap” for Bush into perspective. I was impressed by the President’s reflexes and his grace under attack–he popped back up and stood his ground, with the secret service hustling him out of there–but the fact remains that Bush’s invasion and occupation have visited vast suffering on the Iraqi people. He is no hero there, or in Afghanistan, either.